Iran’s judiciary power said here Tuesday that investigations into former Iranian nuclear negotiator Hossein Moussavian, who was detained briefly this year on suspicion of espionage, exonerated him from a majority but not all, crimes. Moussavian was the spokesman of the nuclear negotiating team that served under President Mohammad Khatami and was replaced when President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad took over in 2005.
Judiciary Spokesman Ali Reza Jamshidi told reporters during a press conference, “Mr. Moussavian was charged with three crimes, namely, espionage, holding secret documents, and negative propaganda against the ruling system. Mr. Moussavian was exonerated from the first two crimes, but investigations found him guilty in the third case.”
Earlier this month Iran’s Intelligence Minister Gholam Hossein Mohseni Ezhehee said that his ministry has established facts substantiating leakage of the country’s secret information by the former nuclear negotiator, Hossein Moussavian.
“Moussavian has been charged with harming national security through leaking information to the aliens, including the British embassy in Tehran and he has been informed of his crimes since the very first day” Ezhehee told FNA, adding, “From the viewpoint of the intelligence ministry, these charges have been proved.”
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad had also earlier said the judge verifying Moussavian’s case was heavily pressured by some of his political foes to exonerate the spy and dismiss the case.
Ahmadinejad said some of his political opponents inside the country had sent certain individuals abroad to leak Iran’s nuclear and political information to the enemies of the Iranian nation in their weekly meetings in a bid to break the resolve of his administration and face him with a defeat.
“But now that these individuals have been summoned to the court to be tried for their actions, some have laid a heavy pressure on the judge to exonerate the spy,” he said.
Ezhehee confirmed Ahmadinejad’s remarks, saying that “the judge has been contacted to exonerate the nuclear spy.”
“Influential individuals have summoned the judge and strove to exonerate the nuclear spy several times,” he added, warning the said individuals to keep away from Moussavian’s case.
“We believe he (Moussavian) is a criminal,” the intelligence minister reiterated.
Iran’s former senior negotiator in nuclear talks with the West Hossein Moussavian was freed after paying bail of 2 bln rials (215,000 dollars) in May.
Moussavian, Iran’s top nuclear negotiator that served under reformist president Mohammad Khatami to 2005, was arrested on April 30. He also served as ambassador to Germany under Rafsanjani.
Earlier a source told FNA that Moussavian “has expressed sorrow and remorse over his deeds”.
It said Moussavian’s accusations “are not related to today or yesterday but have to do with (actions) many years ago”.
Ezhehee had also said earlier this year that two other unnamed individuals had been summoned for questioning by intelligence agents in connection with the case.
FNA’s source said that one of the individuals – both of whom worked for security bodies – had been released on bail. It did not give details over the fate of the other suspect.
Prior to his detention, Moussavian was deputy head of the Strategic Research center belonging to the Expediency Council, Iran’s top political arbitration body which is headed by Rafsanjani himself.
The head of the Strategic Studies Centre is Hassan Rowhani, a moderate cleric who until 2005 was Iran’s top nuclear negotiator and Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) Secretary under Khatami.
Since Moussavian has been charged with spying on Iran’s nuclear programs and activities, his case is verified at the Revolutionary Court and under Tehran’s deputy prosecutor general for security affairs.